ABC News’ Rick Klein reports:
Much has been made in recent days about divisions inside the House Republican caucus over how to frame the party’s opposition to President Obama’s budget.
On Thursday, House Republicans did wind up offering the frame of an alternative budget -- but then they were widely panned for not releasing a more detailed alternative to the Democratic proposals.
That’s what made an exchange Sunday with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” intriguing.
DAVID GREGORY: “Do you think that Republicans should provide a detailed budget alternative?”
GREGORY: “With numbers?”
GREGORY: “Will that happen in the Senate?”
McCAIN: “We're working on it, working very hard on it.”
So -- are they?
According to a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the Senate GOP's plan remains the same: Republicans are planning to offer individual amendments to the Democratic budget but not a detailed, comprehensive budget of their own.
Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, has pointed out that if the GOP amendments are accepted en masse (which will not happen), the amended budget would be the Republican alternative. Senate GOP leaders have also pointed out that Senate Democrats didn’t offer a detailed alternative budget in 2005 and 2006, when Republicans last controlled the Senate.
In any event, a full budget alternative may be what McCain wants, but it’s not going to be what happens.
This is far from the first time that McCain is wandering beyond the boundaries of the party line. But it does suggest that, as Democrats brand Republicans as the party of “no,” the splits over in the House GOP may emerge in the Senate, too.